A Quick Guide to Classic Who- Season 25

Hagan is doing a guide to Classic Doctor Who. The whole thing! This is Season 25.

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40 Comments

  1. No mention of Counter-Measures shenanigans 8(

  2. This was the season that i remember the most as a kid and what turned me into a huge Who fan.

  3. Another good edition. Here are my comments:

    “This is the chessmaster personification of the Doctor who sometimes had already arranged his victory before the episode had even begun. I love this personification of the Doctor. He walks the walk of being the epic figure favoured by Moffat instead of just talking the talk.”

    This all came about because script editor Andrew Cartmel, and writers Marc Platt and Ben Aaronovitch, felt the character of the Doctor needed more ‘mystery,’ and so decided to make him secretly ‘The Other,’ a mysterious, godlike being who is one of the founders of Time Lord society. This is in marked contrast to ‘Silver Nemesis’ author Kevin Clarke’s much more interesting and entertaining idea of making the Doctor over into the God from the Old Testament. As Clarke said himself: ‘He’s God. Obviously he’s God but he messes it up. That’s why he can travel through space and time. That’s why he comes among us trying to put it right.’ Clarke also envisioned the Doctor’s enemy as being the Devil, an idea which would later be picked up for ‘The Curse of Fenric’.

    “It brings back the figure of the Dalek emperor from “The Evil of the Daleks”.. although he’s now Davros,”

    And looks more like the Dalek Emperor that appeared in the TV Century 21 comic strip from the 1960s. See: http://doctorwhoone.deviantart.com/journal/Emperor-Daleks-Which-is-YOUR-favorite-446114337

    “The Hand of Omega, a time lord stellar engineering device used by Omega to turn Gallifrey’s start into a supernova.”

    Omega did not transform Gallifrey’s sun into a supernova, as to do so would have destroyed the planet.

    “There is other good stuff in this, there are strong themes of racism with white supremacists teaming up with Daleks. Even the Daleks factions are racist to each other.”

    Having watched this story through recently, I don’t believe the two Dalek factions were fighting each other, as Ace believes, over racist issues. Although the Doctor doesn’t contradict her, it’s evident, when Davros appears, that the war is primarily a power struggle.

    Equally for it to be a race war would contradict a whole load of Dalek stories, going right back to the 1960s. For example, if the Daleks really did get upset with other Daleks being genetically different from each other, then why did the Daleks that landed on Necros say they were not going to destroy Davros’s new army of Daleks made out of humans, but instead recondition them to obey the will of the Supreme Dalek? If the Daleks were that deep into racial purity, why would they ask Davros in ‘Resurrection’ to genetically alter them so they’d be resistant to the Movellan virus? Also, why would the Daleks be happy with allowing the human race to survive as long as they are mentally conditioned into thinking like a Dalek in ‘The Evil of the Daleks’? And furthermore why would the Daleks be happy to work with an army of mentally conditioned human troops in ‘Resurrection’ if they hated everything that was chromosomally different? Indeed, why would they employ the Ogrons?

    So, the real question is, why didn’t the Doctor set Ace right by stating the proper facts of the case? The answer is two fold a) Ace was sensitive to issues of racism, and so painting the Dalek conflict as a race war wins the Doctor her unalloyed support, b) it is he who is going after the Daleks, and not the other way around. Consequently, every death that takes place in this story has been caused by the Doctor.

    Anyway, here is an interview with actor Peter Halliday who played the Reverend Parkinson in this story:
    http://www.kaldorcity.com/people/phinterview.html

    “Geoffrey from the fresh prince of bel air has a great short appearance talking about how racism and slavery shaped his family history.”

    Ummm. A story about racism, and yet there is only one black character in the story, and he’s only there to talk about slavery. That isn’t racist at all, is it? Equally, it’s ironic that if the sugar business hadn’t been invented, he probably would never have been born at all, because it was only under these circumstances that his ancestors met each other.

    “much of ‘Remembrance of the Dalek’ seems to have been retconned in New Who.”

    According to Russell T. Davies, the 7th Doctor blowing up Skaro is what lead to the Time War, which kind of contradicts ‘Remembrance’ where it’s strongly implied that following the destruction of the Dalek Supreme, the Daleks as a species are now extinct.

    “the KandyMan, a psychotic sweet based monster doctor thing. He was originally supposed to be pretty much human but someon decided that risking a lawsuit from Bassets sweets was much more important than making any sort of sense.”

    It was Director Chris Clough and Producer Nathan-Turner who wanted the Kandy Man to be much more obviously robotic, and so make-up designer Dorka Nieradzik — using Michelin Tires’ seminal Michelin Man icon as a basis — put together an outfit which looked as though it were literally made of giant candies.

    “What’s going on is this: The Tardis lands in Windsor Castle and a living weapon slash statue called the nemesis is basically a comet which passes by the Earth once every 25 years, and because of its orbit, it will crash in 1988.”

    Not entirely correct. Validium is a living metal, developed on Gallifrey as an ultimate weapon of war during the early times. For some reason, never explained, a large chunk of it fell from the sky into a meadow near Windsor Castle during the 17th Century, and was fashioned into the Nemesis statue by Lady Peinforte. It was then placed inside a rocket sled by the Doctor and launched into a decaying orbit for the next three centuries, that brought it back into the vicinity of Earth every twenty five years.

    “So its Anachronism woman vs the nazis vs the cybermen for control of the Nemesis with the dotor in the middle of it all.”

    The Doctor himself is responsible for bringing Peinforte, De Flores and the Cybermen to Windsor for the landing of the Nemesis statue on 23rd November 1988. Which is quite a nice piece of grand manipulation, unfortunately, this intriguing plot development isn’t too clear in the final production.

    Here’s 50 Things about Silver Nemesis:
    http://www.kaldorcity.com/features/articles/silver.html

    “The cast of characters [for ‘The Greatest Show in the Galaxy’ are eccentric to say the least- theres a victorian-ish explorer,”

    Analogous to the Doctor himself.

    “a werewolf”

    Analogous to Ace (Don’t forget, she is also a wolf of Fenric).

    “and the wonderfully meta Whizzkid.”

    Analogous to a teenage Doctor Who fan, or ‘Barker’ as JNT liked to call them, because he thought they were barking mad.

    “Anyway the other cool things here- we have one of the best shots in the shows history as the doctor walks out of the exploding tent there had been a mix-up behind the scenes. ”

    The explosion was originally planned as a rushing-wind effect to be done with air mortars, which use rapidly released compressed air to shoot lightweight material out of a pan or tube. Several large air mortars were hired…. however, when the equipment came to be assembled, the team found they had been given the hoses and fittings for a different set of mortars. As an alternative, it was decided to achieve a different effect using steel-pan mortars and pyrotechnics. However, no one told McCoy about the change, who was still expecting a rushing wind effect.

    • “And looks more like the Dalek Emperor that appeared in the TV Century 21 comic strip from the 1960s. See: http://doctorwhoone.deviantart.com/journal/Emperor-Daleks-Which-is-YOUR-favorite-446114337

      And yet it’s design was turned into something that me, my brother and Hagan think looks ridiculous in the Parting of Ways, which I have heard some people think it looks great. Strange world we live in.

      “Omega did not transform Gallifrey’s sun into a supernova, as to do so would have destroyed the planet.”

      That would have been too silly if that would have ever happened.

      “Ummm. A story about racism, and yet there is only one black character in the story, and he’s only there to talk about slavery. That isn’t racist at all, is it? Equally, it’s ironic that if the sugar business hadn’t been invented, he probably would never have been born at all, because it was only under these circumstances that his ancestors met each other.”

      At least it wasn’t as offensive as the past stories in the show, like the racism you pointed out in Tomb of the Cybermen.

      “According to Russell T. Davies, the 7th Doctor blowing up Skaro is what lead to the Time War, which kind of contradicts ‘Remembrance’ where it’s strongly implied that following the destruction of the Dalek Supreme, the Daleks as a species are now extinct.”

      But Alan, didn’t you know that if you just touch a Dalek with a human hand (possibly an irritating blonde woman) the entire Dalek race can just come back to life? But with all seriousness, Davros could have somehow make new Daleks before the Time War and after Remembrance of the Daleks. Not that I’m trying to defend the Time War, since it was a mystery that Moffat kept rolling for 8 years too long, but that’s kind of a possibility to throw out.

      • “And yet it’s design was turned into something that me, my brother and Hagan think looks ridiculous in the Parting of Ways, which I have heard some people think it looks great. Strange world we live in.”

        The design in “The Parting of the Ways” owed more to the Dalek Emperor design that appeared in “The Evil of the Daleks.”
        http://www.destornilladorsonico.com/reescribiendo-el-canon-la-era-troughton-ii/2013/02/

        ” Davros could have somehow make new Daleks before the Time War and after Remembrance of the Daleks.”

        Well, at the end of “Remembrance” Davros is in something of a difficult position, in that he’s stuck in an escape pod floating around our solar system in 1963. Equally, there are no imperial Daleks left to rescue him, as they were all destroyed when Skaro was vaporised. Where is he going to go to find the material he needs to build more Daleks? As far as I recall, Ben Aaronovitch’s novelisation implied that he froze to death.

      • Come to think of it, you are right. After all, there was never any other time we get to see Skaro again. After all, the Dalek race was killed off from there on, and we never get to see them ever–no, wait. They put the Master on trail in their planet and turned him into a slimy snake. I’ll just shut up now.

        As for Davros, did Ben Aaronovitch explained in his novel on how the Doctor knew about his frozen corpse? Actually, I have a better question: what is the name of the novel? I want to read it and judge for myself.

      • “Come to think of it, you are right. After all, there was never any other time we get to see Skaro again. After all, the Dalek race was killed off from there on, and we never get to see them ever–no, wait. They put the Master on trail in their planet and turned him into a slimy snake. I’ll just shut up now.!”

        1/ Skaro was blown up in the far future, and we have no idea when the Maser was put on trial by the Daleks. It could have been prior to this even.

        2/ From the sound track it sounds as if the Master was not put on trial by the Daleks, but by the Smurfs. Equally, why would the Daleks bother putting the Master on trial at all?

        3/ The Paul McGann movie is shite, and isn’t really part of classic series continuity.

        “As for Davros, did Ben Aaronovitch explained in his novel on how the Doctor knew about his frozen corpse?”

        Why should the Doctor know about Davros’ frozen corpse? As far as he was concerned, Davros died when the Hand of Omega struck the Dalek mother-ship.

        ” Actually, I have a better question: what is the name of the novel? I want to read it and judge for myself.”

        Surprisingly enough, the novelization of “Remembrance of the Daleks” is called “Remembrance of the Daleks.”

      • “3/ The Paul McGann movie is shite, and isn’t really part of classic series continuity.”

        Agree to disagree, and you can see why with my comment below in this link: https://diamandahagan.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/podcasts-lesbian-talk-episode64-the-doctor-goes-to-dashcon/

      • “But Alan, didn’t you know that if you just touch a Dalek with a human hand (possibly an irritating blonde woman) the entire Dalek race can just come back to life?”

        Er…. no. What happens in the episode “Dalek” is that it was able to regenerate itself by extrapolating from Rose Tyler the biomass of a time traveller. This would suggest that the Dalek was feeding on the Artron energy which gets absorbed by anyone who travels through the time vortex, however, there also appears to be a reference to the concept of biodata, a sort of “time DNA” that maps out the influence any being will have on history.

  4. Excellent work as always! I’m particularly fond of the concept of “Silvester McCoy: Destroyer of worlds”.

  5. Remembrance of the Daleks – Easily my favorite classic Who story! This was so awesome to watch, that I was personally offended on some of the stuff that Asylum of the Daleks discriminated on, such as the heavy weapons Dalek being shoved in the background and doing nothing, as well as saying that Daleks killing Daleks is offensive to them, which they did in the end of the episode. I’m not going to go through much of my wrath on that travesty, since I already did that as my first review: http://somereviewsite.wordpress.com/2014/02/

    The Happiness Patrol – Yeah, I like The Sun Makers better than this.

    Silver Nemesis – The only things that I do remember from this story was the mop and the fez, and that woman who said that she knew things about the Doctor, but never answered. Other than that, this anniversary special was forgettable for me.

    The Greatest Show in the Galaxy – This was dark, scary, and great. You joke on the kid was one in a million! Plus, your comparison on why the meta stuff in this one works so much better than Love and Monsters speaks louder than words. Love and Monsters, to me, is just like what you said. It’s not the worst in the show’s history, even though its very bad. I, on the other hand, just think its boring, which is why I can’t consider it to be the worst in New Who. I still think that both Aliens in London and World War 3 hurt more than any other episode in the show’s history! Yes, worse than The Twin Dilemma, worse than The End of Time, worse than Time and the Rani, and worse than Fear Her. That’s right Hagan, I just said that!

    • ” I was personally offended on some of the stuff that Asylum of the Daleks discriminated on, such as the heavy weapons Dalek being shoved in the background and doing nothing, as well as saying that Daleks killing Daleks is offensive to them, which they did in the end of the episode.”

      The conversation goes:

      DALEK PM: It is offensive to us to extinguish such divine hatred.
      DOCTOR: Offensive?
      DALEK PM: Does it surprise you to know the Daleks have a concept of beauty?
      DOCTOR: I thought you’d run out of ways to make me sick. Hello again. You think hatred is beautiful.
      DALEK PM: Perhaps that is why we have never been able to kill you.

      That doesn’t mean that Daleks will never kill other Daleks, just simply that the insane Daleks represent a purity of hatred that they find beautiful, and which, therefore, makes them reluctant to destroy it. Consequently, they see the Doctor’s hated of them as also a thing of beauty and, therefore, this explains why they often hold back from killing him.

      • I personally don’t care either way. Asylum still has too many problems for me to like it.

      • “I personally don’t care either way. Asylum still has too many problems for me to like it.”

        Name 6.

      • How about you read my review of it. I’m pretty sure I have more than 6 issues about the episode.

      • “How about you read my review of it. I’m pretty sure I have more than 6 issues about the episode.”

        I have read your review of it, but I’m too lazy to do a cut and paste.

      • You got me there, and I apologize for being rude. I can’t make any promises, but I can at least try to never act like a jerk again.

        1. I didn’t like Skaro in this episode. I have heard some assumptions, but then I just recently remembered that Daleks in Manhattan yet AGAIN retcon that, saying it was destroyed in the Time War, making Skaro’s destruction, to me, meaningless.

        2. Amy and Rory’s divorce.

        3. Amy and Rory didn’t need to be in this episode

        4. Some of the Classic Who Daleks that I wanted to see, like the special weapons Dalek, were waisted.

        5. The pacing of this episode felt rushed to me.

        6. WHY IN THE WORLD TO YOU ALLOW THE DALEKS TO ROAM AROUND WITH THEIR WEAPONS IN A PRISON!?!?!!??!?!?!?!??!?!?

        7. When you make a prison that reminds me of Rura Pente in Star Trek VI, you are basically making me want to watch something better!

      • “1. I didn’t like Skaro in this episode. I have heard some assumptions, but then I just recently remembered that Daleks in Manhattan yet AGAIN retcon that, saying it was destroyed in the Time War, making Skaro’s destruction, to me, meaningless.”

        In ‘Daleks in Manhattan’ a Dalek tells Diagoras ‘My planet is gone, destroyed in a great war’. This has widely been interpreted as a reference to the Doctor vaporising Skaro in “Remembrance.” However, according to the novel “The War of the Daleks,” Skaro was saved by the Daleks after they discovered, during their invasion of Earth in 22nd century, records showing what had taken place. As a consequence, although they soon discovered that the destruction of Skaro was an historical event that could not be changed, they also realised that Skaro could be saved as long as a planet that was believed to be Skaro was blown up by the Doctor. The planet Antalin was chosen, and terraformed into resembling Skaro. The unconscious Davros was moved from Skaro to Antalin and placed inside a replica of the Kaled bunker. The Daleks also created a race of robots called the Movellans and manufactured a war with them, before reviving Davros. It was Antalin which served as the location for the Doctor and Romana’s encounter with the Daleks and which was destroyed by the Hand of Omega. Now clearly, Moffat has read this terrible book because he rips it off for Matt Smith’s second season, where the Doctor has to fake his own death using the Tessellator. Therefore, if Moffat accepts “War of the Daleks” as part of his own personal history of Doctor Who, then the Dalek in “Manhattan” simply meant that Skaro had been laid waste by the Time War, not vaporised by the Hand of Omega.

        “2. Amy and Rory’s divorce.”

        Yes, I agree, this is shit. As is the idea of Amy suddenly, out of nowhere, becoming an international supermodel, with her own line in perfume.

        “3. Amy and Rory didn’t need to be in this episode”

        I thought some of the best scenes where with Rory and Amy. I loved the “Egg…egg…egg” stuff with Rory and the mad Dalek, and also Amy hallucinating the ballerina.

        “4. Some of the Classic Who Daleks that I wanted to see, like the special weapons Dalek, were waisted.”

        I agree.

        “5. The pacing of this episode felt rushed to me.”

        I thought the opposite. All that stuff about Rory and Amy’s divorce was unnecessary and seemed to slow everything down.

        “6. WHY IN THE WORLD DO YOU ALLOW THE DALEKS TO ROAM AROUND WITH THEIR WEAPONS IN A PRISON!?!?!!??!?!?!?!??!?!?”

        Well, as there are no prison guards, there isn’t a problem. If the insane Daleks shoot each other, so what? What is less understandable is the Dalek prisoners in “Doomsday” being allowed to keep their guns. But then the idea of the Time Lords take Dalek prisoners at all seems strange.

        “7. When you make a prison that reminds me of Rura Pente in Star Trek VI, you are basically making me want to watch something better!”

        That’s like saying, ‘I think Tolstoy’s War and Peace is a rubbish book because it contains a Siberian penal colony called Rura Penthe.”

    • I like “Love and Monsters.” I think it is the best story of Nu Who season two. “The End of Time,” however, is utterly unwatchable. Having said that, it’s easier for me to list the good Nu Who episodes than the bad ones, because generally, the bad outnumbers the good to a factor of 10 to 1.

      • But the End of Time isn’t in season 2. Did you just put that down because that two parter will never escape from your life? We’re here to help you Alan, if you need any, that is.

      • I was assuming you would know that “The End of Time” wasn’t in season 2, so I didn’t bother saying ‘I like “Love and Monsters.” I think it is the best story of Nu Who season two. “The End of Time,” however, which is a Doctor Who special broadcast on 25th December 2009 and 1st January 2010, is utterly unwatchable.’

      • Well, you’re not the only one who likes Love and Monsters. Believe me, I know. What did I like in season two and thought it was good? Girl in the Fireplace. Possibly School Reunion, regardless of the bad CGI alien vampires.

      • “What did I like in season two and thought it was good? Girl in the Fireplace.”

        Not keen, and didn’t really like Sophia Myles’ performance.

        “Possibly School Reunion, regardless of the bad CGI alien vampires.”

        My problem with that one was the GBH done to Sarah Jane Smith’s character, that made her over into an obsessive lunatic.

      • “My problem with that one was the GBH done to Sarah Jane Smith’s character, that made her over into an obsessive lunatic.”

        I apologize for sounding kind of ignorant, but what does GBH stand for?

      • Grievous bodily harm.

  6. Am I the only one who actually LIKED Silver nemesis? Everyone keeps telling me about how bad that episode was, but honestly, this episode (plus Season 26’s Ghost Light) are what got me back into Doctor Who after quitting during the Colin Baker era (as to why I quit, imagine sitting through a marathon of the ENTIRE 23rd season, with no breaks whatsoever, and you have your reason as to why I needed a pause), so understandably I have a bit of a soft spot for it.

    • Nothing wrong with liking Silver Nemesis, I quite like it too. Its a lot better than some of the worst parts of DrWho like Twin Dilemma or Time and the Rani.
      Its enjoyable and in a season such as the Trial of a Timelord season would probably stand out, its just being next to Greatest Show in the Galaxy makes it look a little weak.

      Its ok to like something even if it is a weak link, I have the same feeling towards Battlefield in the next season; it has a cool looking demon and Jean Marsh playing an evil sorceress queen after all!

      • Battlefield is terrible!!!

      • Battlefield had directorial issues and budget constraints but it did so many things memorably right that I have no problem re-watching and enjoying it. Jean Marsh was definitely a highlight.

      • Well whether you fin Battlefield awful or not as awful, you have to look at its positives; some aspects did work really well. Just because something is bad or not up to standard doesn’t mean it has no merits, unless if its that Garbage Pail Kids movie…eesh.

      • A few months back they showed “Battlefield” on the Horror Channel, and I thought it was absolutely dreadful. It wasn’t just the generally poor direction, it was also the script, parts of which made no sense (how do you lock up a teleporting witch!), the lacklustre pyrotechnics, and most of all the acting. Almost everyone in it was terrible, and this wasn’t because all the actors were bad, they weren’t. It’s just that in this production they decided not to act.

        The single worst performance came from the Knight Commander. How can anyone say the line “My lady,” so poorly? The part was played by Stefan Schwartz, and it says on his wikipedia entry “former actor.” I would have thought to be called a “former actor” was to imply you had actually done some acting in the past, but if his apperance in “Battlefield” is anything to go by, clearly not.

        Another word he says badly is “Magnificent,” made worse by the way he then pathetically shakes his sword as if it were a rolled up newspaper.

        The only thing I liked was the Destroyer, but again, that doesn’t do much. it just turns up. Breaks some chains, and then explodes.

        Oh, my god, and then there’s Ace and Shau’s “Boom!” “Boom?” “Boom!” scene, and then there’s the Monty Python style flying knights, and also the underwater spaceship set that appears to be made out of paper mache…

        “Battlefield” episode one achieved the lowest ratings in the history of the show. 3.1m which placed it 102nd on the TV charts. Even the test card used to get more than that! Clearly the promo trailers, featuring lackluster extras staggering around in horrible plastic armour with wastepaper bins on their heads, put most viewers right off from the start.

      • Honestly I like Battlefield for its mixture of silliness, enjoyably camp and sometimes pretty good or imaginative. In the right mindset you can have a laugh with the bad stuff and I usually treat it like a big runaround, a nice call back to some of the romps like the Visitation and the Awakening, kind of like a salad until we get to the main course of Season 26.
        I wish we got to see more of the Destroyer too, considering how much time and effort when into making him.

        So yes, it is pretty lacking, but I still find it fun and its not mortifying like Twin Dilemma.
        Now Horns of Nimon on the other hand is downright hilarious in how bad it is! Its the Doctor who equivalent of the Room or Birdemic

      • To continue your food metaphor, I wouldn’t call “Battlefield” not so much a salad, but more a rotting cabbage. I don’t enjoy this story on any level, and worst of all, I’ve got to watch it again soon for work related reason.:-(

        As for “The Twin Dilemma” I actually like it, and find it entertaining, and I also like “The Horns of Nimon,” indeed, under all the overacting and cheapness, you’ll find there’s a good script hammering to get out. When I was a kid I also had a tremendous crush on Janet Ellis, so Teka is an extra bonus.

      • Mmm, thinking back, yeah I agree, It can also be seen like cheap wine 😮

        and you think Twin Dilemma is funny? You must be a very brave and hardy soul! I remember seeing that as a kid on a rerun and being horrified by it! After watching Kinda and Snakedance, it was just so shoddy looking.

      • I like the incidental music in “The Twin Dilemma”. I also liked Eric Saward’s hilarious book adaptation. I think some of the effects are good, and I like the Doctor’s decent into madness while stuck in the coat-rack. The twins, costumes, toy guns, and silver paper wrapped around the consoles, are all silly, as is the plot, but I still think it’s better than “Batttlefield”.

  7. You know, I would have thought it would have been a Mary Whitehouse stand in, though I guess it might as well be Thatcher as Mary Whitehouse was one of her cabinet members. (Not sure if that’s the right term.)

    • Mary Whitehouse wasn’t a member of Thatcher’s cabinet, or even a politician. She was, however, the head of a right-wing reactionary pressure group called The National Viewers and Listeners Association, which campaigned against the publication and broadcast of stuff its members considered offensive, like swearing, homosexuality and blasphemy.

  8. My god, it would be nice if for once she didn’t bitch about NuWho.

  9. Here’s 32 Cool Things About “The Happiness Patrol” (and 18 Stupid Ones) http://kaldorcity.com/features/articles/happiness.html

  10. Here’s a list of 47 Cool Things About “The Greatest Show in the Galaxy” (and 3 Stupid Ones) http://kaldorcity.com/features/articles/greatest.html


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